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Some important points for dividing a house after divorce

For many couples in Clarksville, Tennessee, owning a home is a life-long dream and is valuable to the couple. Sadly, many marriages fall apart and they fight over their home. Because Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, the primary residential home is often discussed during property division.

Even if a couple is not officially divorced, it is necessary for one spouse to obtain a "quit claim" deed signed by the other spouse before investing in another property that the spouse plans to buy alone. By signing a quit claim deed, one spouse gives up any claim on the new property in the future.

Sometimes, the marital home may be awarded to one spouse as part of the divorce agreement. However, the spouse who has been awarded the house may be unable to obtain a new loan to refinance the house and, in the process, may buy out the other spouse. In that case, mortgage lenders consider the property to be jointly owned and therefore, consider both spouses to be equally liable to repay the loan. In that case, the only way out is to either sell the property or to refinance with only one spouse's name appearing on the deed, depending on who owns it according to the divorce decree.

If the divorce has not yet been finalized, it is also important that separating spouses inform a mortgage lender about the agreement regarding the division of the house and communicate it to the lender with all necessary documentation. Otherwise, a lender will think that both spouses still own the property jointly and that both spouses are still residing in that property.

Another option is to refinance the house through a gift fund that one spouse or an immediate family member or blood relative may have received. This is especially helpful when the spouse who is vacating the property wishes to recover the entire amount of money that he or she initially invested in the property. This issue is effectively addressed through a gift fund because the fund can provide the spouse who is vacating the property with additional funds to complete the transaction.

Source: Credit.com, "How to Divide Your House in a Divorce," Scott Sheldon, July 9, 2014

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Clarksville, TN 37040

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